Life is digital
Ultimately, Roxi09 makes a point about all of our lives online. "Life
is Digital," the site proclaims on its homepage, and Eric points out
that many of us actually do have a separate life that is purely digital.
When we use instant messengers, participate in chat rooms, launch websites,
or communicate by email, we create versions of ourselves that exists separately,
as an online entity, Eric explains. A piece like Roxi09 speaks to how full-bodied
these personalities can become and teasingly plays with the idea of a personality
who exists merely in the virtual world, though with all the trappings of
Since developing Roxi09.com, Eric has continued to pursue this tension
between virtual and the corporeal, but in a much more pragmatic direction.
Again taking inspiration from his mother, Eric has trained in Reiki,
a form of energy work that seeks to create physical and spiritual balance. "Reiki
works on the premise that there’s all this energy in the universe," Eric
explains. "When the body becomes imbalanced in whatever way, due
to stress or disease, the entire system is affected."
A hands-on process, Reiki is in the most literal sense a craft of bodily
interactions. The Reiki practitioner lays hands on one or more of the
12 spots on the body that serve as key energy points. "Practitioners
act as an antenna," Eric explains. "Wherever they put their
hands, the energy just flows.
As his final project at ITP, Eric revisited the theme of bringing together
the virtual and the embodied by creating an interactive CD-ROM to teach
the practice of Reiki. Eric's program guides students of all levels in
the techniques, history and philosophy of this healing art, using virtual
demonstrations to direct the bodily interactions. He now markets his
CD-ROM from his website, http://reikiproject.com, and has attracted clients
from all over the world.
According to Eric, the virtual world created in his interactive CD-ROM
is integral to his program's success. "Because it’s a hands-on
practice, it's important to know where to put your hands and have that
active engagement with the information," Eric explains. "It’s
one thing to visualize it in your mind, but if you’re not seeing
how it happens or seeing how it relates to other systems in your body,
it doesn’t sink in."
But there's also a bit of a return to life lived online with his Reiki
Project. In addition to marketing the CD-ROM, Eric's site provides a
place for Reiki practitioners and enthusiasts to meet, chat and post
messages. On his community boards, users take names like "firedragon" and "skydancer" and
post messages about "a strange Reiki experience" and "Reiki
for the world's peace." Through the online posts, they live their
lives digitally and create a virtual community.
And who knows? Maybe someday Roxi09 will log on to chat.